11/1/14

Daylight Savings Time: This Is How It Goes Down I My House

After writing the post about "10 Fun Facts About Daylight Savings, All Parents Should Know..." a few readers reached out about concerns and questions they had in regard to the upcoming Daylight Saving Time (DST) change (November 2, 2014), and how it will effect their family.  I promised to write about my experiences, and how I deal with it. Of course, with the promise of a post came my full disclosure:
When I say my experiences and methods of dealing with it, I mean most likely not going to be scientifically backed up methods. Think more like my typical toddler run dumbassery.
So with that being said, here's how DST goes down in my house.


There's good news and bad news.
Good News: DST ending means you're not going to lose an hour of sleep, like when it begins.
Bad News: For the next week you'll most likely see the ass crack of dawn way too many times. 


My very first DST change came in the spring when Ollie was only a couple of months old, so it didn't really screw us up, since we weren't sleeping anyway. It was when Ollie was a year old the true DST fun began. It became apparent that regardless of 'springing forward' or 'falling back', it screwed up our routine. Sure, I tried a few tips to make the adjustment easier like starting the bedtime routine 15 minutes early everyday the week leading up to the change, but they all failed, and here's why...

First of all, my kid is not a huge fan of sleep, so it's a battle regardless of the time on the clock. We can start bedtime 15 minutes early every night, but it doesn't make that much difference. My kid is not a robot, there is no off switch. He seems to fall asleep between 8-8:30pm regardless of the time we start bedtime, and wakes up between 6-7am.  

Even though the times have varied a little as he's gotten older, DST still screws us all up because the toddler wakes up, when he wakes up. He has a regular hour window, with 6:30am being the norm that he wakes up. The only time he will wake up ridiculously early, is when he goes to sleep ridiculously late. That's right, my kid follows the early to bed, late to rise & late to bed early to rise philosophy. Knowing this, I make sure his but is in bed by 8pm! 


My plan for helping him adjust to DST is to start the bedtime routine--bath, books, bed-- at 7pm as usual this coming Saturday, and hope he is down by 8pm. I will also go to bed at my normal time 11pm-12am, so I can be ready to get up with him at 6am... if I am lucky. He could very well wake up at 5am. Who the hell knows, he's a toddler. I have to set realistic expectations so I'm not in tears when he is pouncing on me with the clock flashing 5am. 




On Sunday night, I will start the bedtime routine at 6:30 which will technically be a half hour late, but hopefully he will fall for it and be out by 7:30, because again, if he is going to wake up at the ass crack anyway, I need to get him down to get enough sleep. 

That's the only real change is the earlier bedtime. Of course, a little glimmer of hope inside of me will pray he sleeps well past 6am, but the realist part of me knows that I have a better chance of winning the lottery... everyday for the rest of my life. 

Historically, it takes about a week to have his new routine down. I do work hard to get him to stick to the early bedtime of 7:30 through the winter months, but it still seems all goes right back to the same 8-8:30pm bedtime and 6-7am waking. It all really just depends on your family's routine.  FTD loves to play with Ollie for an hour after getting home from work, while I make dinner, so it never fails dinner is at 6:30. Sure, I'll try to make dinner earlier now, but I'm not killing myself to get it done. 

As for nap time, I will stick to the normal daily routine. I will still put him down after lunch at 12:30-1.  It will possibly cause issues at first, but an early nap is not necessary, since the bedtime and waking are the most important to me.

My only suggestions to those who asked is follow your child's cues at first and make small adjustments that best fit YOUR family's schedule. Also, if you go to daycare, see what their plan for naps are, and if they have any additional suggestions.

FYI: Rarely have I heard keeping your child up late to sleep-in works.  But you know your child, if you think it will work, have at it! Above all, keep your expectations realistic. Don't be surprised if your little one wakes up at the ass crack of dawn for the first few days. Don't get discouraged, all will level back out according to your family's routine within a week or so... 

Still, most likely DST will suck, but just know you will not be the only parent cussing over the coffee maker at 5am. 



If you have any tips or stories, please share them!

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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